March 5, 2002
Present: Chair Carter, Secretary Banks, Chair Emeritus Corbin, Provost Cooper, Parliamentarian Gilbert; Senators Allen, Ash, Bernhard, Blanchard, Braunbeck, Cassidy, Daley, Funderlic, Garval, Grainger, Grimes, Havner, Headen, Hodge, Hughes-Oliver, Istook, Kimler, Kirby, Levine, Lytle, McRae, Misra, Sawyers, Tyler, Wilkerson
Absent: Senators Brothers, El-Masry, Hooper, Smoak, Vickery
Excused: Senators Marshall, Rolle, Weiner
Visitors: Clare Kristofco, Executive Assistance to the Chancellor; Carol Schwab, Professor; Judy Peel, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development; Joanne Woodard, Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity; Mary Elizabeth Kurz, Vice Chancellor & General Counsel; Robert Geolas, Centennial Campus Coordinator; Debra Paxton, Regulatory Compliance Administrator.; Charles Moreland, Vice Chancellor of Research and Graduate Studies; Daniel Bunce, Editor, Bulletin; News Services; Thomas Conway, Associate Vice Provost, Undergraduate Affairs
1. Call to Order
The tenth meeting of the forty-eighth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:00 p.m. by Chair Philip B. Carter.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Carter welcomed Senators and Guests.
Chair Carter congratulated colleagues in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for initiating an outstanding week of discussion and lectures on Islam and Terrorism.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 9, February 19, 2002
The minutes were approved as amended.
4. Remarks from the Provost
Provost Cooper stated that they are in the midst of reappointment, promotion and tenure. This year there are 119 cases. The committee would like to do this at the administrative level in two meetings. The first meeting has been held and the second will be held on Monday. The members of the Administrative Review Committee are Steve Jones, Charles Moreland, Chancellor Fox, and Provost Cooper.
The Board of Governors will be meeting tonight. In the Chancellor’s absence Provost Cooper will be attending two meetings. One a workshop on tuition and the other on budget and finance.
Provost Cooper thanked the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for having a week of outstanding activities in the area of exploring Islam and the Muslim world.
Provost Cooper stated, "We will be hearing more about the Patriot Act, particularly access to certain chemical biological agents on campus and restrictions. There will be meetings and perhaps even workshops dealing with those issues.
In the last Board of Trustees meeting, there was a change of title of the Master of Science in Management degree to a Master of Business Administration (MBA). The content of the degree did not change. I think it is very important for our students to have the MBA title and for us to market an MBA, so that we can grow the program and compete in the national market place.
I am very pleased at how the admissions statistics are shaping up. This will turn out to be a slightly smaller class as we try to balance what happened last year. As a result, the quality indicators are up, the applicants are up, and the quality of the students we have accepted are up. We have tried very hard to develop the high touch approach to minority recruiting. While we had 72 African-Americans expressing an intent to enroll last year at this time, we have 112 this year–a significant increase. If we can maintain that pace, we should see the statistics in our numbers improve substantially."
Provost Cooper stated that he does not know if there will be more budget cuts this year. Next year there is some uncertainty. It is likely that NC State is going to have a tight budget.
Senator Kimler wanted to know, with regards to admissions, if the adjustment is to take account of last year’s over-enrollment, or is it just to lower expected enrollment.
Provost Cooper stated, "We have a ten year game plan and we want to get back on that trend line. It will not be a severe drop. We have a lot of old statistics and data that we draw on and I do not think we are going to be surprised except in the margin of things."
5. Progress Toward Degree
Associate Vice Provost Thomas Conway reviewed some core issues and key points of the Progress Toward Degree policy.
"Primarily what we are looking at is this university’s commitment to encouraging a positive focus on student time to graduation and increased graduation rates. As we look at the landscape one of the pieces that cause us to strongly support the regulation is that we need to ensure timely movement of students out of the First Year College and other undesignated and undeclared programs. This is a need that we recognized early on in the First Year College. We have talked about this same issue with the College of Engineering where there are other significant groups of students in undesignated programs. Both colleges have endorsed and are solidly behind this regulation.
One of the issues that we have looked at and identified over the last several years is that students tend to persist in their pursuit of majors that there is no evidence whatsoever that they are going to be successful in. Currently the university has no mechanism by which you can say to students, let’s stop and take an assessment because there is a wall out there we want to talk to you about before you hit. This regulation will allow us to do that. If students do not get into a major in an area that is over subscribed or heavily subscribed, they tend to think you will not let them in. Part of the thinking that we believe drives that behavior is that there is no university level process by which decisions to change matriculation requirements are vetted. We need to start giving better information to students early on, and we are talking as early as the recruitment phase, to get students ready for the idea that they will be competing against other highly motivated students for a limited number of seats in our more popular programs.
The way we are looking to accomplish these goals is to establish this progress toward undergraduate degree completion regulation. We are looking to develop a university level process to determine the capacity and consider changes and matriculation requirements for academic programs. We are looking at providing students with viable alternatives to our over subscribed programs. We have been talking with some colleges about the process of re-advertising some programs.
We started this process approximately one and one half years ago. We started with the Academic Policy Committee. We have gone through the process of meeting with various groups of students including the Student Senate Academic Committee. We have gotten their input and those inputs are reflected in the policy as it stands today.
The Way the Policy Is Intended to Work
We want to start saying to students in the recruitment phase that North Carolina State expects you to plan the pursuit of your university degree. In New Student Orientation we are going to start the process of introducing students to a plan of study template. We are looking to build that so it is available to them online, can be manipulated by the student, can be viewed by the academic adviser, and a version of it once agreed upon in consultation with the academic adviser literally gets locked in and becomes the program that the student is operating on. This process is already being used in some NC State programs. Students will have ongoing access to that plan of study template so that they can generate multiple versions. However, it is the plan that the adviser has approved that becomes the yardstick against which the student will be measured. By the end of the first year of enrollment every student is expected to have that plan produced and locked in. Once students are enrolled, monitoring will take place at the end of each spring semester. Students who enter in the spring semester will be reviewed the following spring. When that monitoring takes place, students who have not met the university requirements will be flagged. When those students are flagged a notice is sent to the department and the students. The review for academic progress will take place at the departmental level. If the student is judged not to be making academic progress, then the student has a semester of progress warning status. That semester of progress warning is the student’s time period to make adjustments. Adjustments can be made by choosing a major that at that point the student qualifies to matriculate into. If the student is not likely over the course of the semester to make that grade point average shift required for matriculation into the first choice major, that student is encouraged to choose from among the options that are still available to him or her at the institution as opposed to continuing to push forward toward a degree that they are not likely to be matriculated into.
If a student fails to make the adjustment, choose a major that they are eligible to go into or raise the grade point average, or get back on course if they have not been taking courses that are consistent with their plan of study, the student can be faced with a loss of degree seeking status. What is built into the regulations as it is written now is that students can be moved out of degree seeking status into a category in Lifelong Education. Students to whom that happen to will have to reapply to be admitted into programs for which they qualify matriculate into. They will not automatically be readmitted into programs that they have been taken out of for not making progress.
Finally in terms of the opportunity for appeal, students will have the opportunity to appeal any sanctions that are levied against them based on this policy, to the Academic Associate Dean in the college that they are matriculated into.
We are asking students to develop and register a plan of study. That plan of study is to serve as a planning tool. It also will allow them the opportunity to tailor their degrees. Actually when we did the trial run to see how many students would be affected based on a model that we put out, most of the students that were off model relative to their ADA used as a plan of study, were students that were double majoring or had picked up one or more minors. They were students that were tailoring their degrees for all of the right reasons. Those students simply have to write that into their plan of study and they are protected in the process of reviewing based on their plan. Students who want to do study abroad, students who want to take advantage of cooperative education experiences, etc., any of those can be written into the plan and they protect the student from any kind of penalty as it relates to progress toward degree because it is part of their plan.
The other thing that we expect is that students will enroll in the course work consistent with their plan of study. Students can adjust the plan of study, but the plan of study has to be adjusted in consultation with the adviser in the department or the faculty adviser that is charged with working with the student. We will be asking that students complete at least 24 hours of credit each academic year. We use 24 based on the fact that our full time course load for the university is still at 12 hours. If that figure changes, then this figure in the regulation could change.
Matriculation into a Degree Program
You have to matriculate into a degree-granting program by the first day of classes in the semester in which they have junior status.
Senator Funderlic wanted to know if a lot of students will fail courses by taking the minimum number of hours.
Associate Vice Provost Conway stated that he would argue that in looking at this plan the students who are taking courses and failing them, if they do not past at least 24 hours they should be targeted for some kind of review at the departmental level remembering that the students does have that semester of progress warning to deal with those kinds of issues.
Senator Kimler wanted to know if the time cutoff in matriculating into a major is a 60 hours cutoff.
Associate Vice Provost Conway stated that it is a 60-hour cutoff.
Requirements at Each Level of Classification
At the freshmen level, 0-29 hours, the requirements against which they would be measured in May, would be do they have a plan of study developed and registered and have they earned at least 24 hours during the academic year.
For sophomores it is essentially the same. They have to maintain that plan of study, earn at least 24 hours (consistent with their plan of study).
For juniors the additional requirement is added that the students matriculate, i.e., students who would be at the time of review between 60 and 91 hours. At that point they have to be matriculated into a degree-granting program. The other two requirements are still in place; maintain the registered plan of study, earn 24 hours consistent with the plan of study.
At the senior level, 92 hours or more, maintain enrollment in a degree granting program, maintain the registered plan of study, earn at least 24 hours unless fewer hours are required to graduate.
Those are the requirements as layed out by classification.
Declared Part Time Students
We are introducing a new concept in terms of the declared part time student. One of the charges that came along with developing this policy was as an institution, we have a lot of students that come to us by circumstance and by choice as part time students. We do not want to penalize those students. By the same token, we are not encouraging students who I think would go full time to go ahead and do so. We are asking students who intend to be part time students to declare that intent. They are protected under the policy simply by writing into their plan of study their intent to pursue their degree at North Carolina State University as a part time student. They will be required to matriculate into the programs at the point that they reach junior status. The junior status is tied to the junior status as described in the handbook on advising. If those numbers change the level here will change also.
Progress Requirements for Transfer Students
One of the differences here is that we are asking that transfer students have a plan of study in place by the first day of classes in the first that they enroll. One of the things that we found in our research on this is that the quicker transfer students come in and are locked into an adviser and are on track relative to pursuing their degrees, the better off they are. This is one of the challenges to the advising that is going to come up fairly quickly. After that plan of study is locked in the rest of the requirements of the regulation apply based upon classification.
We have been dealing with this issue of how we get students who come in to undeclared, undesignated majors in the First Year College; moving into declared majors at a more rapid rate and looking at providing additional options. One of the things that we have found is that when we look at all colleges, we find that there are under subscribed major areas in many of the colleges. Some of these programs have tremendous potential if we pay attention to them, repackage them, and advertise them appropriately. In addition to that in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, there are some very interesting and viable options particularly with multidisciplinary studies. There is the current option that students write the proposal and get it approved by a team of faculty that act as their academic adviser. There is already the STS option available and there is some dialog about other options that might be made available. These options, properly developed by the faculty in Humanities and Social Sciences and that college, could add to our attractive major options for students. We are looking at starting to specifically encourage students to look at these kinds of options early on, including undersubscribed majors in the colleges."
Senator Havner wanted to know if there is still the requirement of maintaining a certain grade point average.
Associate Vice Provost Conway stated that there is the eligibility to continue policy that is in effect and would catch students who were in that kind of situation. The eligibility to continue policy would still be in effect.
Senator Blanchard wanted to know what role advisers will have in registering the plan of work. If advisers have a role, is there an estimate on the additional time required for advising?
Associate Vice Provost Conway stated, "What we are looking to do is develop a delivery process that will allow the student to generate the plan of study. The adviser will have the opportunity to pull it up in his or her office and do an electronic signature that says this is the one that is locked in. That becomes the process for endorsing it. What we anticipate your gaining out of this is, now you will have a real sense of what the student’s intent is. This will not solve all of the problems, but it does force the students into a planning mode. Now when students come in and talk to you sit down and do the advising, the student goes out and looks for a set of courses. The resulting set of courses may be totally different from what you had agreed upon. At the next advising session when you review, if those courses do not fit into the plan of study, you have the opportunity for a different kind of conversation because you can point out to them that at the end of the spring semester if they are not on track, they are going to get flagged and then you all will have to have a conversation about whether in your department they are making progress. We are not encouraging faculty to make agreements with students that will support them in pursuing majors that are not in the department that the faculty member is teaching in. If we allow that to go unblocked then what we are doing is supporting the phantom major process the elimination of which is one of the goals of we are looking to accomplish here."
Senator McRae stated that prior to this, each program has chosen the matriculation standards. Is that going to change?
Associate Vice Provost Conway stated that what is going to change about it is that as the matriculation standards are dialoged about at the department, the Provost and Deans have agreed to look at a process that will move that discussion up through the college, into a discussion between the deans and the Provost such that at the level of announcing that change in matriculation, there is ample time to let students know that the adjustment is being made and it has been vetted across the institution so all colleges know and all advisers will have access to that information.
Senator Levine wanted to know in addition to the advisors, what kind of career counseling is available to the students to support them in making the decision when they reach the 60-credit milestone.
Associate Vice Provost Conway stated that they are looking to put additional resources in through Undergraduate Affairs. They have already been building a resource in virtual advising. One of the things they want to avoid doing is saying that you as faculty member are now responsible for helping to find that student another home. That is not going to be your responsibility.
Senator Kimler stated that his college takes a lot of majors from other programs. "How do you envision that working?"
Associate Vice Provost Conway stated, "When we talk about matriculation, if a student is already in the institution in one program and looking to transfer or matriculate into your program, your matriculation requirements would kick into play. I would advocate for the idea of having two advisers at the same time. What we are probably going to do is look at supporting the transfer of the student from the existing department to a target department. There is some conversation about the idea of programs that would allow students to go into a retooling program that would take them out of the department for that one semester period so that they can re-gear and move forward."
Senator Lytle commented that he has some reservations about having a holding pattern in the middle where that student is directly under the influence of the person who has the expertise in the old major or the new major. He thinks it makes more sense to have a two party transition rather than having three stages.
6. New Business
NC State Regulation for Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct
Vice Chancellor Moreland explained that there is a misconduct in science policy governing activities at NC State, that has been in effect since the early 1990's. The difficulty with the policy in its current format is that it has a major deficiency with regard to what is now recommended by the Office of Research Integrity of the Federal Government. " That is, in our present policy, allegations of misconduct are taken directly to the Vice Chancellor for Research and then to an inquiry to see if indeed the allegation has substance to it. If it does, there is a full blown investigation. The investigations are done by faculty committees that are appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Research. The recommendations come back to the Vice Chancellor for Research.
The guidelines that are presently put forward by the federal government recommend a research integrity officer in each university. That person would receive information and also the allegations. That person would also be actively involved in making sure the required processes are followed and that they are helping this faculty committee initially to gather information and make sure they have all the information without that information going directly to the administration until this whole process plays out. Then the recommendations are made. In this you will notice that the Vice Chancellor of Research would help the Research Integrity Officer essentially talk faculty members into serving on the inquiry. In the past, those faculty members have done an absolutely superlative job. I have never disagreed with a recommendation.
The policy that we have in place has everything in it with regard to inquiry investigation and appointment but has no integrity officer in it. That integrity officer has been added. A subcommittee of the Research Committee worked with Debra Paxton and our Legal Office to recraft our document in light of the request from the federal government. The report that was sent to you is the end result of their work, which I think is the input from the subcommittee.
There were also some things in our policy that were not clear.
We are presenting the policy to you today for your review and would like to come back to the next meeting to discuss it further.
Comments from Debra Paxton, Regulatory Compliance Administrator
Debra Paxton stated that the subcommittee was primarily concerned with putting in little details to protect faculty members. The Chair of the Faculty’s name was included on a few of those, in case the Vice Chancellor needs someone to consult with.
"They were concerned with various definitions. Primarily what is needed to find scientific misconduct uses the term called "preponderance of the evidence." That is a term used in Civil Courts. There are some points in the document where I can understand people want more details. Throughout the document there are bracketed references to procedures where we get very detailed about various processes that are discussed in the policy. One such example is sequestering records. That is clearly and understandably a very touchy topic and a cause of concern for faculty. We are very detailed in describing how we will handle that in the procedures. It is in the policy and in the federal regulations that research can be continued throughout this process. If there is an allegation, it does not mean that the research project has to stop. We will gather records. Copies of everything can be made so that the project can go on.
One final item that we worked on was to ensure there was adequate representation of various fields among these committees. The basic process is that an allegation would come to me as Research Integrity Officer, and I would make sure that it falls under this policy. If it did not, I would direct it to the appropriate channels. Once I determine that it does, in fact, fall under this policy the allegation would go to an inquiry committee that would validate the claim. There is no real decision being made there except that they are making sure that there is enough basis to the claim to move to an investigation committee. The investigation committee is a committee that decides through preponderance of evidence, whether or not they believe that scientific misconduct occurred.
In setting up those committees the subcommittee was very careful to ensure appropriate expertise across fields. The different traditions of each field are very important in determining scientific misconduct."
Senator McRae stated that he does not see very much protection for students in the document.
Paxton stated that she brought that concern to the subcommittee. She stated that if you look closely at the composition of the committee, the term used is peers.
Vice Chancellor Moreland commented that at the time you move from inquiry to investigation and there is any federal funding involved in the research under question, then you are dealing with the agency. If you do not have a policy that the agency accepts, they will come in and do the investigation.
Mary E. Kurz, Vice Chancellor and General Counsel, stated that the grievance process involves a hearing by a committee of peers, with a recommendation from that committee to the Chancellor. The Chancellor’s decision is based on a review of the record. It is very important that the record be developed adequately so that the Chancellor has full information before her to make a decision. After that decision is made, there could be subsequent appeals to either the Board of Trustees or the Board of Governors. The record is important in terms of any subsequent reviews or possible court review.
"In the six years that I have been here, we have had a number of grievances that have been remanded after subsequent review, either by the Chancellor or by the Board of Governors, for procedural errors. That normally remands the case back to the committee or in some cases a new committee to correct the procedural error. Our goal is to ensure that our process works effectively and efficiently with fairness to all of the participants in the proceeding. My office is working with the Governance Committee and the Faculty Senate. Hopefully we will continue this work to develop and bring this grievance training program into being.
We envision a four-hour training program divided into two, two-hour segments. The first session would review the grievance procedure and its substantive and procedural requirements. The second two-hour session would be working through a hypothetical grievance.
The first session actually deals with our specific grievance procedure and what is required in each step. Grievance is considered from a legal perspective as an administrative proceeding and there are certain legal attributes that accompany it. One of the most common procedural errors that I have seen occurs when committees hear evidence outside the presence of one or more parties to the grievance or communicate on the merits of the grievance with one or more parties or someone external to the process to gather additional information. In most cases this would constitute a violation of constitutional due process. One of the first things that we want to accomplish is discussing the roles of the committee, the roles of the chair, dealing with issues such as conflict of interest, communicating with the respective parties and who does that, and discussing the elements of due process that is required in this type of proceeding. It is not a formal legal proceeding in the sense of a court room, but it is a legal proceeding nonetheless in terms of an administrative process. It is a lot less formal but there are still requirements that the law attaches to these kinds of proceedings. We want to review each of those steps and make sure that there is full understanding of what needs to be done. The issue is if we have a policy or procedure in place and do not follow it: Then we are automatically in breach of legal requirements."
Vice Chancellor Kurz gave some examples (see attached presentation) that track the grievance procedure.
Vice Chancellor Kurz stated that they have also developed a manual to accompany the training workshop. She distributed copies of the table of contents that indicates the material that will be covered at the training sessions.
Vice Chancellor Kurz stated that they can always revise the manual because sometimes there may be issues that have not come up in past grievances that may come up in a subsequent grievance. She noted that there is a miscellaneous section at the end that includes frequently asked questions or unusual circumstances. They would like to have the ability to expand that section so that as issues arise, some guidelines for cases that might occur in the future could be provided.
She has developed a series of checklists for grievance committee chairs to facilitate their conduct of the grievance. The checklists are specifically tailored to the steps in the grievance process.
Vice Chancellor Kurz stated, "We have a number of specifics that are already written into our grievance procedure, but there are a lot of things that the grievance procedure is silent about. We are trying to provide some guidance in those areas in the training session. We envision also including with the materials another booklet that is put out by the College Administrative Publications Corporation as part of its higher education administrative series. It is called The Guide to Conducting a Hearing in a Higher Education Setting and it is written by Robert Beanstock at the University of New Mexico. It is an excellent generic review of grievances and it also addresses some of the same issues that we have addressed that are specifically tailored to our own grievance procedure. Together our manual and this booklet will be of immense help to committee members as they are looking at the requirements for conducting an effective and fair hearing.
During the second training session we will be working through a case study. We are going to develop a hypothetical grievance that will have a grievance statement. There will be some problems with the grievance statement in the sense that it will be maybe too vague so the committee would not be able to tell what was grievable or whether the jurisdiction prerequisites were met. The question is, what does the committee do then? We have a provision in our procedure to allow for an amended grievance statement. Obviously the purpose of that amended grievance statement is to provide the respondent with enough notice to allow the issue to be joined and to allow the committee to know the issues. Then there will be an exchange of documents and the grievance would proceed.
There may be things that are missing from the manual. There may be other concerns that you have. I will be willing to meet with anyone individually. I will certainly work with the Governance Committee or anyone else to make this a very useful document so that we can ensure that our process will work well."
Senator Wilkerson stated that it seems that there are holes in the way that the grievance processes have been spelled out and the official grievance procedure documents. "Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to fill those holes and modify the grievance procedure document and have that go through the Senate rather than including those changes in a users guide for participants in the process?
Vice Chancellor Kurz stated that they are really not changes to the grievance procedure. "You can never put in a grievance procedure every issue. That is why it is important to have something like a training session that can answer some of those questions. If there are gaps in the grievance procedure, I absolutely agree that we should address those. We tried to do some of that the last time the grievance procedure was revised, but there may be other issues as well. There was one issue that came up recently relative to what happens if there is a claim that the matter is not under the grievance procedure. As you know GA has certain specifications that say you may only grieve a denial of tenure decision on three grounds and they are limited. What happens if the committee receives a grievance and it is not within those three grounds and the committee decides to go forward? Is there an ability of the department chair or whoever the other respondent might be to appeal to the Chancellor? The grievance procedure is silent on that. It is just like in a court proceeding when there is a motion to dismiss based on what is called sovereign immunity. That is normally not specified either. Sometimes you can appeal and sometimes you cannot. Sometimes when you draft a procedure you do not know that there are things that are missing until you are actually in a grievance. You do not want to be too specific in a grievance process for some of these things. You would rather leave them to training because sometimes the context requires different results. So if you are too specific, you have reduced your ability to be a little bit more flexible as a committee. My concern in the training process is to tell people about what the legal requirements are; what a court would be looking at. We can spell out the burden of proof standard in a grievance procedure. That standard normally applies in administrative proceedings like this."
Senator Kimler stated that the entire faculty needs training in one sense. He would like to see the information accessible on a web site.
Vice Chancellor Kurz stated that she will put this on their web page. She would like to do some training for department chairs about their responsibilities in grievances. It is helpful to let them know what the process is.
Senator Sawyers stated that he is frequently confused in the differences between grievances and hearings. "Does the training also deal with cases of discharge of tenured faculty?"
Vice Chancellor Kurz stated that this manual is designed for grievances. Many of the principles are equally applicable to discharge proceedings. The major difference between a discharge proceeding and a grievance is the burden of proof is on the administration to prove the case. The burden of proof is slightly harder for the administration than a normal grievance. The discharge proceedings actually have the opportunity for a hearing before the Board of Trustees. That is not in the grievance procedures.
Senator Sawyers stated that he thinks training would be equally or even more important for the hearings panel.
Vice Chancellor Kurz agreed and stated that normally in those cases the attorney general represents the institution in those proceedings.
Vice Chancellor Kurz stated that the booklet that she mentioned earlier is written in a generic way that would cover both. "The manual is particularly tailored to the steps of our grievance procedure. I can certainly put on my agenda for the future a manual that would be tailored specifically to our discharge proceeding. We can have the same thing for our termination process because that is a third matter on how that it done. It is not done on the formality of a discharge proceeding or a grievance because there is not the same kind of evidence that you hear. Nonetheless it does have certain requirements that need to be followed."
Centennial Campus Update
Robert Geolas, Coordinator of Centennial Campus, stated that he has worked on Centennial Campus for eight years. "When Claude McKinney left, he talked about Centennial Campus being ready to take another step forward. The way I really thought about that when I had the opportunity to step into this position was that Centennial Campus was truly moving from the "can we do this" stage to the "okay, we can make this work" stage. This will be a viable research campus that will support our academic and research units. How do we ensure on an ongoing basis that it does that? I said to my staff and those of the Centennial Campus that if the campus ever begins to feel like a traditional research park, a traditional research campus or a business park, we have failed miserably in what we are supposed to do. Centennial Campus was built around the idea that it be a fully engaged community of industry, government, and university with the university being the key in this case. The university should establish what the programs are, establish the cornerstone of every programmatic neighborhood on Centennial Campus, and then lead the way. So I feel accountable very much to the faculty, deans, Vice Chancellors, and ultimately to the Chancellor. I feel a special connection with the faculty because I want you to think of Centennial Campus as your representative. What we are going to focus on is what you tell us you want us to stay focused on. We are not going to be driven by traditional real estate motives although we have real estate. We have to manage it and make sure it is meeting the financial obligations. That protects us all, but we have to do that in a way that is truly in the spirit of this institution.
What is unique about Centennial Campus is the fact that there is no model that we can go to. There is no one else out there doing it the way that we are doing it. We are learning as we go. We have done a lot of things very well. We have also made some mistakes. The Resources and Environment Committee was terrific in prompting me to articulate more fully where I see us going in building this sense of university community and program development. We have already put into place what I am calling programmatic workshops for this next year. I am asking the Research Deans to appoint some faculty from their colleges to sit down with us and do programmatic master planning. We have a physical master plan. We can tell you where certain things are going to be placed. I think it is very important that we be connected with the programmatic interest of the university. These workshops will be focused on how faculty, as they look at Centennial Campus as an opportunity in all aspects of their research, can possibly envision an outside laboratory or a research focus on community development. Ultimately I do not just want what goes on inside the buildings to be representative of what we do. I want the entire campus, in every aspect, to be representative of our beliefs. These programmatic workshops will begin this year. We intend to get through all of the major programmatic neighborhoods and get a direction in multidisciplinary ways from the colleges.
Let me give you an overview of some of the major projects. When I talk about programmatic neighborhoods we are talking about a cluster of buildings that we have developed around those areas of expertise and interest that NC State has said we want to be leaders in. We have a middle school here on the campus. It does not often feel connected because we do not have all the infrastructure. It is a very important part of what we do and becomes the key of our pre-college education or education neighborhood on the Centennial Campus.
In terms of projects that are on the drawing board, one is the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, bringing a 60,000 square foot facility to the campus, focusing on wildlife, natural resources, and environmental education. When you come in on Varsity Drive it will be off to the left. That building has been designed, and approved by the Board of Trustees. It is expected that we will break ground this summer. On the corner of Varsity and main campus we have chosen a private developer team to build 120,000 square feet of what would be speculative laboratory space. This is an unusual thing in the market right now, getting the developer to build something that will allow companies, particularly startups in the biotech area, to find the lab space they need to get started and grow. We have incubator space on Centennial Campus, both office and wet lab. We spun out a lot of great opportunities from that lab incubator but they have not been able to grow on the campus because we have not had that next generation of space.
The College of Engineering site work is already under way. Their construction begins this year.
The Venture Center Project is almost completely built out. They can only build one more building on that site. They would like to break ground on that building and as the market begins to show progress they will certainly do that.
Centennial Campus has approximately a 3% vacancy rate now. The current vacancy rate in Wake County is 17%. I think that speaks to the fact that Centennial Campus really has value in terms of the connections people can find at this university.
The two projects that have probably captured your attention more than anything are the residential project and the Executive Conference Center, Hotel, and Golf Course.
We have had a residential project on Centennial Campus since it’s very creation. There are a number of different reasons why residential was approved. Some had to be political reasons. Some of those have had to do with simply developing our true community. I see residential as an important part of the Centennial Campus, as a representation of sustainable community development. We are ultimately going to have a population of approximately 35,000 people. Responsible planning would suggest that you want places where people can live so they can walk to work. I am currently looking at residential as simply a responsible land development and a representation of sustainable community development. This project will be privately developed, with the land being leased. We are not selling the land. The condominiums and town homes would be for sale starting out at approximately $120,000 - 150,000 and going upwards to $300,000. These units are not student housing, but housing for faculty, staff, and others who happen to be employees of the campus. It is not limited to that. It will be open housing for anyone in the community who chooses to live here. This has been an ongoing project for approximately four years, and has been a very complicated deal to put together. I think we will bring it to a positive close and get the residential project moving forward this year.
The other big project that has been out is the idea of having an Executive Conference Center/Hotel and Golf Course. This project has also been out there for a long time. For approximately four years now we have been negotiating with Benchmark Hospitalities. We have been talking to Heinz as being the developer and Arnold Palmer in terms of designing the golf course. We have set a date for opening at May 1, 2004. We have reached a number of very important business decisions, even in the last few months. We are now in the construction drawing phase which means all things are going well. We should actually have a physical ground breaking sometime later this year. The infrastructure that leads to that site is under development now.
That is where the big picture is. There are other things that are going on out there. I am working with almost all the colleges on one major addition or another. As we continue to show progress particularly with the economy, I think we will begin to see even more opportunities."
Senator Ash wanted to know if there are any plans to make Centennial Campus Middle School accessible to campus.
Geolas stated that currently the only way you can get to the middle school is off of Trailwoods. The Department of Transportation cannot justify running a bus to the middle school every day.
Senator Ash asked if a road could be constructed.
Geolas stated that there is a ravine that requires a bridge that cost approximately $3.0M. "For the moment we do not have the ability to commit to building that entire section. One of my priorities is to see this connection made."
Senator Lytle stated that, particularly for young faculty, real estate is very expensive here. His experiences at another university, when he was first starting out, included the availability of rental housing the university had available specifically for that purpose.
Geolas stated that he thinks it has to be a part of what we do next. "The folks in the retired faculty group have been beating their drums for many years. I just challenge them and the steering committee to look at a way that we can combine two projects. I happen to think we could create a new model where we could actually have a place for retired faculty and new faculty where they can learn from each other. I do think that having that as a part of the campus is absolutely essential."
Senator Grimes wanted to know if there is any decision on minimal natural areas that are going to be left on Centennial Campus.
Geolas stated that Centennial Campus has been, to a large extent, master planned. One of the things that these programmatic workshops would help to define is the need for certain natural areas that would be maintained for research or educational purposes. "I think that as we look at Centennial Campus we need to look at those needs and make adjustments as needed."
Dr. Salah Elmaghraby, Professor of Industrial Engineering presented a memorial statement in honor of Dr. Abdel-Aziz Ismail Kashef, Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering.
Chair Carter adjourned the meeting at 5:15 p.m.